The sharpshooting Bayhawks continued their high-scoring ways in a 31-9 victory over the Philadelphia Barrage yesterday at Johnny Unitas Stadium, wiping out three league records in the process.
Breaking their record for margin of victory (16 goals) set last week, the Bayhawks (3-0) also racked up the single-game records for points (31) and goals (28). After three games, they lead the league in average points scored (25.3) and points against (9.6).
In a game that in many ways resembled last week's dismantling of the New Jersey Pride, the Bayhawks took a commanding lead after the first five minutes. Ten players combined to turn six shots into seven goals (one was a two-pointer). With more than 20 minutes remaining in the half, the Barrage (0-3) had no choice but to put in injured goalkeeper Brian "Doc" Dougherty in hopes of a miracle.
In the second quarter, Dougherty held the Bayhawks to five goals, smothering several tricky shots with ease. It was not simply Dougherty's skills that flummoxed the Bayhawks, but their reliance on long, high shots.
With 12 minutes remaining in the quarter, attackman Tom Marechek solved Dougherty, slicing toward the crease with a quick, low goal. Marechek added a point-blank goal within a minute, and the rest of the Bayhawks caught on, extending the halftime score to 14-4.
According to Marechek, who led the Bayhawks with five goals and four assists, Dougherty might have kept the game within reach had he not reinjured his broken thumb with 57 seconds left in the half.
"They need Doc to be healthy in goal," Marechek said. "He stops a couple of goals and they're in the game."
The Barrage's backup goalie, Todd Schreiner, who started the game, was as ineffective in the second half as in the first few minutes, picking up only three saves while allowing 16 second-half goals. For Schreiner, the most frustrating aspect of the Bayhawks was their depth.
"All the time you want to focus on Tom [Marechek], Gary [Gait] and Mikey [Powell], but you can't really pick or choose," Schreiner said. "They have so many weapons."
Against more challenging opponents like the Boston Cannons and Long Island Lizards, the ability to score will give them confidence that any person on the team can execute, said midfielder Mark Frye, who had two two-point goals.
The Bayhawks' success against tougher teams will depend on defensive execution, which has gone largely untested in the two blowouts. In preparation, the Bayhawks used more aggressive double teams on the Barrage than in last week's game, which a few times left goalie Trevor Tierney (12 saves) with no help.
"You live and die by the double team," defender Shawn Nadelen said. "Defensively, we've got to stick to this game plan and keep playing together."
Next week's road matchup against the winless Rochester Rattlers will be the first between Powell and his brothers, Casey and Ryan.
Bayhawks 9 5 6 11 - 31
Philadelphia 1 3 3 2 - 9
One-point goals: B- Gait 6, Marechek 5, Powell 4, Sims 3, Curry 2, Frye 2, Sonke 2, Alrich, Cantebene, Cocchi, Prout; P-Striebel 3, Mollet 2, Prager 2, Knight, Springer 1. Two-point goals: B-Frye 2, Curry 1. Assists: B-Marechek 4, Powell 3, Gait, 2, Drew Pfarr 2, Prout 2, Sims 2, Cantabene, Curry, Frye, Sonke.; P-Boyle 2, Shanahan, Striebel. Saves: B-Tierney 12 (60:00, 9 GA); P-Schreiner 3 (35:17, 16 GA), Dougherty 8 (24:43, 8 GA).